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A Less Perfect Union

An editor at Viking Press once told me that there are two ways to sell books: Put on the cover either a swastika or Lincoln’s face. I wasn’t sure about the Nazis, but he’s surely right about Honest Abe. I’ve watched ordinary people climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, pull out their . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Divided House

Speaking to a Baltimore audience in 1864, Abraham Lincoln made an observation that remains ­uncomfortably true today. “The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty,” he said, “and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using . . . . Continue Reading »

Audacious Abe

Abraham Lincoln loved to tell stories. But many of them, as one political acquaintance tactfully admitted, “would not do exactly for the drawing room.” Lincoln had been raised in what he once called “the back side of this world,” and he had learned many a tale of how backsides worked. One of . . . . Continue Reading »

Lincoln Lost, Douglas Won

Everyone on that hot, dusty August afternoon in 1858 in the square at Ottawa, Illinois, knew who one of the men on the platform was. That man was Stephen ­Arnold ­Douglas, the senior U.S. senator from Illinois whose seat was up for ­re-election that year. Although Douglas stood only . . . . Continue Reading »

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